Welcome

Welcome! This is where it all began. I no longer post on this website and some of the content reflects former convictions and understandings. Some of these posts are hard core on issues that I am softer on these days. I deleted many posts that I feared would lead people into legalism, so if you find a missing hyperlink that may be why. These days I write at Covered By His Hand.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Meet Josiah Eugene

Josiah Eugene
Born 12-23-09
9 pounds
21 inches

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Baby News

My baby was due on Friday, December 18th. I am overdue. Baby will be induced tomorrow morning.

Read the details on our family blog - here.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Hmmmm

Not sure how this helps keep the mice out of my house...
These are two of the three kittens we have left. One of our grown cats, Rose, comes in too... but all she does is sleep on my pile of clean towels.

Someone remind me again how this helps keep the mice away? I have more faith in the "mouse beeper" that is on the wall in the picture above... I credit these (one or two in every room) for not seeing a mouse in any of my houses for years! But, alas, kittens are cuter... and softer... and snugglier...

Friday, October 16, 2009

Insight

It's all about perspective, really.

It has been hard to trust God with my health situation. (I am referring to my unnamed/undiagnosed disability, not pregnancy) I have had good days and bad days. On the good days I thank God for the health I have, for the lessons He teaches me through sickness, and the family I have that generally serves me with kindness. On the bad days I complain, grumble against God and my circumstances, and carry on like a big baby.

The recent insight that God gave me is this: 
I used to complain a lot about pregnancy! During my first pregnancy, I thought "I am never going to do this again." Looking back, it was just a typical pregnancy... morning sickness, itchy skin, moodiness, heartburn, etc. At the time, I thought it was a horrible experience! I had expected pregnancy to be all happy times with "glowing" skin... reality hit me like a load of bricks.
In the following pregnancies, I whined, grumbled, and complained as much as I could get away with. I still thought that pregnancy was HARD and I felt sorry for myself. I also thought that pregnancy lasted forever! It seemed to go on and on and on...
BUT, God has changed my perspective! Dealing with a real disability over the past year has been a real wake-up call. There were days I could not get myself dressed, walk, hold a dish without dropping it, or make a meal. THAT was hard. That was a real challenge. Compared to my disability, my pregnancy is a cake-walk.
I am amazed at how quickly this pregnancy has flown by! I am amazed at how little the nausea, vomiting, and heartburn have bothered me. I do not think that the severity has decreased from previous pregnancies, I think my perspective has changed!

The other day, on the blog, I said something to the effect "if I live through this pregnancy"... I was not merely complaining about pregnancy. I try not to complain about the blessing of carrying a baby - ever. I want to live in such a way that shows that I believe that having a baby is a gift from God. I do not want to grumble and complain about it. When I said that comment, which could easily have been taken as a horrible complaint, I was referring to my overall health situation. I am scared.

These past 4 weeks my joints have started hurting again. I am weaker by the day. I am still able to walk (easily). But, I have lost some of my fine motor abilities, and my upper arms are weaker by the day... just like last winter. I have doubled my dose of Vitamin D, and it seems to be helping some. But, I am still scared. I have never been scared of labor before. My labors have all been relatively easy (still a 10 on the pain scale, to be sure... but at least they have all been less than 10 hours long!). I have never had such weakness, fatigue, and pain preceding labor.
When I went to the doctor a few months ago (before my summer reprieve), to share how immobile I had become... he said there was "a serious concern as to whether or not [I] will be able to carry and deliver the baby." The carrying of this baby has not been too bad. As I said, this pregnancy has seemed easy and fast. But, what will delivery be like?

I have to trust my God. There are times when I wake up panicked in the middle of the night. I have to repent of my worries. I have to spend more time in prayer and less time in useless (worse than useless) daydreaming of disaster. I actually find myself grateful that I will be having a hospital birth, in case something does go wrong.

I have only 8 more weeks to enjoy and savor this baby's moving inside of me.

God has given me a proper perspective concerning my pregnancy... how it is a little inconvenience compared to a real disability. Now, I ask God to give me a good perspective concerning things to come. I need His grace to saturate my life! I need His perfect love to cast out all my fears! I trust Him to provide all my needs according to His riches in glory. I have to trust Him.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What is it all About?

There have been many, many times in the past three years when I thought "What's it all about? What is the purpose of life? What is the meaning of my Christian life?"

To live is Christ, says the Apostle Paul! (Phil 1:21)

In the past three years Paul and I have been walking a road that took us further and further away from the true meaning of life and Christianity. Being a Christian is all about living in Christ (Romans 6:8) and dying with Christ (Gal 2:20).

What is true religion all about? What is Christianity all about? I will let the Bible itself answer those questions.

If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man's religion is worthless. Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. James 1:26-27 (NASB)

For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF."
Gal 5:13-14 (NASB - original emphasis)

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
Eph 2:8-10 (NASB - emphasis mine)

Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
Phil 2:1-4 (NASB)

That is just the a small sampling from the texts in the Bible that speak of what true Christianity is all about. It is about turning away from your former lusts, snares, and desires. It is about continually repenting of sin and turning to Christ.

While sound doctrine is no doubt very important to the New Testament writers, it is for the purpose of living together in love and peace. If we strive for sound doctrine it ought to be so that we can better love and serve one another. But, what I have seen in my own life (all too often) is a pursuit of knowledge for merely the sake of knowledge and intellect. But, read this exhortation:
Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth. And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know. 1 Cor 8:1-2 (KJV)
I also like this translation of the same verse:
Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies. If anyone supposes that he knows anything, he has not yet known as he ought to know;1 Cor 8:1-2 (NASB)
Now, this does not mean all knowledge and learning is bad - by no means. Scripture is also filled with exhortations about acquiring more wisdom and knowledge (see Prov 4:5-7; 2 Tim 2:15) We have to find a balance, and we have to judge our own motives. It is very good to read the Bible! It is very good to read books about the Bible to gain more understanding into the Bible. It is very good to read books about Christian living. SO LONG AS you are reading these books for the end goal of being edified and edifying others. If you want to learn something so that you can seem smarter or debate better, you need to be cautious in your desire to learn. But, if you want to learn more, so that you can better present the Gospel to the lost world, so that you can better love those around you - GREAT!

A bit of personal reflection here - when I was in college I was a part of a campus ministry called "Christian Student Fellowship (CSF)." (The founders/teachers of this group are from the Christian Church, and the group consists of many differing denominations.) My Christian life blossomed under the care of this group! I worshiped and fellowshiped weekly with those who had a variety of beliefs. I served on missions teams with these students. I shared the Gospel with the lost while I was in this group, I was discipled and discipled others while in this group... I was a healthy active Christian with love for the lost world around me, striving to live out the Gospel in my whole being. These were precious, tender years.
Then, I left CSF, I went to Bible College. Somewhere in the following years my pursuit of knowledge conquered over my pursuit of love and genuine growth. Because, frankly, I began to mistake book knowledge for growth... meaning, I was thinking that I was growing in my Christian walk merely because I was reading such knowledgeable authors.
I greatly slacked in my witnessing. I started loving all people a little less. I started drawing divisions between myself and other Christians that never should have existed. I parted fellowship with those who did not believe as I did on the issues that I considered most important. I was in a sorry state, and I was miserable.
You would think that all my Bible knowledge would have caused me to have more compassion for the lost, more love for all people... but that just isn't the case. Because, I was learning to attain intellect... not edification.

I finally feel like, after these past several years of building knowledge without love and separating myself from others, that I am getting back on solid ground. My husband, Paul, and I have had a lot of really good talks about this lately. We are re-evaluating our motives, our love, everything.

My blog life has been quite varied, with the pendulum swinging far into legalism at points. This legalism was not at all helpful to myself or others. In fact, it almost always drove a wedge between myself and other Christians and between myself and the lost of the world who I am required to witness to. I was not the salt of the Earth. I was not a light to the world. I was repugnant... to just about everyone, except those who thought just as I did.

I was not living a life hid in Christ. I was flaunting my own attempts at holiness and right living.

As I blog in the future, I will try to question my own motives more severely.
-Am I writing this to edify and encourage?
-Am I writing this with love?
-Would I want Jesus Christ to read this? (Of course, I know Jesus knows my every thought...)
-Will this cause an unnecessary division among God's people?
-Will this lead others to love and serve the world around them more?

I will still write about the topics that matter most to me: doctrine, modesty, entertainment, materialism, and more... but I will not try to make such a clear cut set of rules as I have in the past. I hope that my readers will notice a difference... in fact, I hope that in the past weeks you have already noticed a difference.

Fall Pictures


 
 
 
 
 

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Live Upon God

This afternoon Paul and I finished listening to a fantastic sermon by John Piper.

To Live Upon God that is Invisible

Each time I listen to a Piper sermon, I feel a little more life seeping through my spiritual veins! This particular sermon was preached at a pastor's conference, so you can get a feel for his heart for what/how a pastor ought to preach and love his people.

The focus of this particular sermon is the suffering in the life of John Bunyan. It is an amazing sermon, and I encourage you to download it and listen to is as you are able!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

I must be nesting

It's official... I'm nesting.

Proofs:
- I moved the baby changing table into our bedroom this week
- I am winterizing the house... a bit early
- I rearranged my kids' rooms
- I am mouse-proofing again... don't ask, just don't ask...
- I have made double batches of lots of food this past week, so my deep freeze has been partially re-stocked with: 1 dozen plain muffins, 10 blueberry muffins, 1 dozen cream cheese apple muffins, 1 loaf of apple bread, 1 pkg of beef and onion precooked for chili, and a dozen pieces of french toast (I LOVE my vacuum sealer!)

Paul told me yesterday that he knows that I don't have any energy, so I must have a lot of "drive." I'd say that's about right! I am determined to do my best to keep the mice at bay... I am determined to keep the house as warm as I can... I am determined to have my room all set up for our new addition (that I keep thinking will come early...probably just a maternal, unsubstantiated fear)... I am determined to have food ready for the worst most challenging days of pregnancy to come and for post-partum healing days...

You get the idea - I'm nesting! Note: this does not mean I feel "good." It just means that I am determined! Praise God for drive when energy and health are lacking!

Friday, October 9, 2009

My kids teach me!

This morning my 4 year old, Lydia, brought me a paper she was working on. "Mommy, look at the numbers I made." I was looking only half-heartedly, when I noticed real letters and numbers she had written! I know most homeschooled 4 year olds can write. This post is not about how exceptional my kids are. (Though I do think they are mighty special!) This post is about God taking me, an imperfect vessel, and teaching children in spite of me.


What amazed me is that we have been doing only pre-writing exercises, tracing lines, patterns, and shapes. I had not tried to introduce numbers or letters yet... I didn't want to rush her the way I did Rebecca.(And, Nelson has a fine motor delay and he is having trouble writing... silly me, I forgot that every child is different!)

So, in school this morning (yes, I actually did school in the morning with all four kids at the table! And, yes, we actually accomplished something!), I gave Lydia letters to trace from Donna Young. AND, she asked for plain ruled paper to write her own free-hand. I am amazed!

God is working in my kids in spite of my deficiencies.

(Pat me on the back. This is my first time using the new scanner and uploading a scanned document!)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Recipe Chart

Growing in grace is not always about theological knowledge. For me, growing in grace can be very practical. One area of my life in which God has vastly grown me, in the last ten years, is my baking/cooking skills. Knowing how to provide a good meal for my family has been a long-term project! I want to pass on something that has been VERY helpful to me, a recipe chart. Since I am ADD/scatter-brained, I have a VERY hard time following a recipe. I almost always forget to turn on the oven (because the oven temperature is always listed last), I get steps out of order, and basically everything that can go wrong does! But, an older friend of mine suggested this kind of recipe chart to me, and now I convert my recipes to make them easier to read. The recipe below was adapted from this online recipe to add a bit more texture, flavor, and healthy ingredients.


Cream Cheese Apple Muffins
Yields 12-15 muffins

TURN ON OVEN TO 375
Prepare muffin pans

1 unpeeled apple

Chop apple (I use a food processor),  set aside for later use

¼ cup butter
4 oz cream cheese

Soften the cream cheese and butter in a pan until nearly melted. Put into a mixing bowl and blend well (I use an electric mixer)
¾ cup sugar
2 eggs
½ cup milk
1 Tbls. lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla



Add these items into the mixing bowl and mix well
1 ½ cup flour (I use whole wheat)
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
¼  cup chopped pecans (or walnuts)
3 Tbls. oat bran
dash of nutmeg
½ tsp. cinnamon


Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then add them slowly to mixing bowl


Fold the chopped apple into the mixture and pour into muffin cups
1 ½ tsp sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. brown sugar
Combine in a small bowl and then use as a topping for the muffins. (If you want more of a streusel topping, melt 1 Tbls of butter and add it to the dry ingredients)
BAKE at 375 for 20-25 minutes


Notice how I have the oven time at the top - very helpful to me!
 I hope this recipe chart will be helpful to you as well! Let me know what you think.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Can you SEE the difference?


Please leave a comment. Little ears need encouragement!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Can I move to your house?

... That is, unless you have mice.

I am terrified of mice. They cause me to panic. If I hear one in the attic I will stay awake all night. If I hear one in the wall behind my bed I will cry. And, when I hear them in the ventilation, I cry.

A few months ago I was hearing a LARGE mouse-like noise every night for about two weeks. I cried and cried. It was climbing around in the ventilation duct by my bed. I cried and tried to cover my head with a pillow. To dampen the noise I put a large book over the vent. This also made me feel safer... in case he should happen to chew through my steel wire covering. (I have heavy guage steel wiring on all my vents to hopefully keep out crickets, spiders, mice, and snakes, and anything else... possums, etc) Anyway, Paul was somewhat calloused about my fears, reminding me that nothing can chew threw that steel wiring.

Paul was wrong. We vacuumed all the vents out today, to prepare for using the heater. In the duct by my bed there was a large-mouse-size hole in the wire fencing. I am SO glad that I put that huge book on top of my duct!

I am not sure I will ever sleep in this house again. Sure, I have never actually had a mouse in the living quarters of my house... but in the ducts is too close for comfort.


Feel free to tell me I am a baby. But, I would rather have you commiserate with me! Would you live in my house?

Cooking with Little Hands

Even though my oldest is now 7, I still feel like a parenting novice! I knew so little about children before I had my own! So, on occasion I like to write down some practical helps for those like me... who know nothing to begin with.

My suggestion for today is this:
Even the little hands can help put muffin mix into the pan! I used to always pour it myself while the kids cried "I want to help too!" Well, we have a solution now. Did you know that you can fill a standard muffin cup using a 1/4 cup measure? Kids can handle that really well!

One more suggestion:
Sometimes I let my littlest helpers mix the dry ingredients in an enormous (spill-proof) bowl, just to feel helpful.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Basic Math - Part 2

Two adults
PLUS four kids collecting walnuts
TIMES two hours of work each
PLUS two hours waiting in line to cash in
----------------
$16

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Collecting Walnuts

Today was the first day to take walnuts into sell (in my corner of the world, anyway). Paul waited an hour, but saw that it would be another couple of hours until his turn came around. So, he had no choice but to leave. This is our first year to gather walnuts. This economy has a lot of folks collecting walnuts that never have before. Unfortunately, this will drive the price down even more : (

But, on the bright side... the walnuts will keep until we can go back next week. I can gather more before then. And, Paul was able to "borrow" enough gas from our lawn-mower's gas can that he can make it back and forth to work till payday.

Now, Here are some lovely pictures.

All my big helpers.
Lydia puts walnuts into her bucket.


Paul unloads the smaller cans into the large barrel

I started the day by bending and gathering... big mistake! I am very sore now!

Lydia dumps her bucket into the larger can.

My valiant little helpers.

Nelson gathers walnuts.

At the end I was so tired that I sat on the ground and gathered the nuts around me.

Paul worked non-stop! And, on his day off Sears too!

Cat pictures

Just for fun... while I am waiting to see if we made any money from collecting walnuts today.

This is Rose.
She is the cat that miraculously lived after getting run over.


This one is from our newest batch of kittens.
I should have name this one "Trouble!"

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Frustration = Sanctification

Reposted 11-25-2011

I am feeling VERY frustrated... but I am trying to realize that God means all trials for my good... God is working to sanctify me.

So, you are all wondering, "what happened now?" Well, my fridge is not working! My fancy- schmancy- enormous- side- by- side- Maytag fridge that we bought for $75 from my BIL is not working right! Over the past month we have turned up the thermostat on it to the coldest setting. Over the past month the milk has felt warmer and warmer. Then, this week the meat drawer started reading 46-49 degrees (Fahrenheit). Now, the ice in the freezer is melting and all my groceries are just cooler than room temperature.

ARGH!

I have moved everything I can into freezer bags and put it in the deep freezer. Praise God that we had the nearly empty deep freezer! And, the rest of the food... well, maybe with more room for the cold air to circulate it can hold out until.... when? I can't call a repair man! And, Paul's Sears Associate discount isn't good enough to buy a new fridge (even the cheapest, plainest model they have! With his discount we could maybe afford a dorm room fridge!)

I think I may scream. But, instead I will try to do something productive... like cook all the food in the fridge... and give it away?

ARGH!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Attic is Finished!

The clothes have all been sorted and re-packed! Ready to go up to the attic!

I wish that I had a picture with all that I did y-day as well... just to make me feel even more productive! Paul took some clothing up y-day, this is only the remainder! (The little Wal-Mart bags are filled with "strays" that were in the wrong totes before, and Paul will find their appropriate home in the attic).

I love my husband! He is so good to me!

Fall Cleaning

It was about 2 months ago when Paul urged me to clean the attic. His main reason for wanting a clean attic was to get rid of cardboard boxes that are breeding grounds for Brown Recluse Spiders (very poisonous and potentially lethal). I got started on the attic cleaning project, but quickly lost steam - the story of my life! Anyway, there was only so much I could do without going up to the attic myself, and there is NO WAY I am going up in the attic... ever. So, I was at the mercy of Paul to bring boxes down for me to sort through.

My bedroom this morning:

Well, he brought down loads of clothing in boxes and bags and my living room and bedroom are filled with every size clothes for both genders from birth to 12! I think that (if you have a roomy attic or basement) saving clothes as hand-me-downs is good stewardship! So, we keep everything, even the junk that is only suitable for outdoor play! I spent a few hours sorting and re-packing yesterday. I have already spent a few hours sorting this morning.

Sorting girl clothes:

I was very happy to find the baby boy clothes, since I am due in December! I have a good supply of 0-9 month sizes, I should not need to buy anything except for cloth diapers!

I was also happy to find a box of clothes for Lydia. There were two "church" dresses and one every day jumper. She has oodles of long sleeve shirts. I think if I can find a few jumpers or skirts at a thrift store she will be set!

Joshua has plenty of clothes for winter, so long as he stays a 2T for a while longer. I have not found the 3T box yet...

So, we have made some excellent progress! I am so pleased that Paul volunteered to bring stuff down, without me even asking!

I am still hoping and praying (literally) that we will be able to move out of this house soon and closer to Paul's jobs in Columbia. I am happy that with these clothing boxes packed we are ready to unload the attic into a moving truck. I am still praying for a miracle! Paul and I really, really want to be out of the house before the cold weather kicks in. Please do not think me double-minded on this issue. I know it seems like I go back and forth. But, what you are reading is my true desire to want to move AND my true desire to be content should we NOT move. I know that it is unlikely that we will move before Spring (tax return time), but I will not stop praying to that end. And, should God leave us here for another year or more (Egad!), I will keep praying for contentment!

I know that my last several posts have been very emotional, and not very spiritual. But, I will not claim to be a person who is able to "think on things above" all day, every day! I wish that I could! But, often I am consumed by the cares of this world. And, maybe it will help someone else out there reading my blog to know that there are a few normal, struggling moms out there... moms who do not have it all together... cannot afford decent housing... and often have to repent before the Lord for envy, covetousness, worry, and more! Praise God for His forgiveness for my bad days!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Eye Doctor

I took the two big kids to the eye doctor this afternoon.

I am getting new glasses with the same prescription.

Rebecca is far sighted and needs glasses for around the house... especially for reading.

Nelson is the big shocker! He is nearly blind in one eye! He has 20/400 vision in his left eye, AND astigmatism. He has been nearly blind for so long that his eye has become lazy. So, we have to put a patch on him 3 times a day for three months and see if the condition improves. (That, in addition to his new glasses).

I will take pics when we get the new glasses!

I praise God for technology that improves vision!

More on the Swine Flu Vaccine

Go watch the videos and read the information on this link!

It is VERY informative. Do not say you do not have the time. You cannot afford NOT to watch these videos.

Key points from the video, just to whet your appetite:
- the swine flu vaccine has been "fast-tracked," meaning it is NOT thoroughly tested
- the safety tests that are done are being done only by the pharmaceutical companies themselves, in secret
- the safety tests that are being done are prior to adding the most dangerous ingredients (like the squalene)
- the numbers of potential cases and deaths by swine flu are HIGHLY inflated by the government, pharmaceutical companies, and media (to cause fear and panic and sell more vaccines?)
- Vitamin D3 is more efficient at preventing flu than vaccines

Please, Please go watch the videos. The safety of you and your children is at risk for years to come!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Snake Pictures

Navigate away if you do not want to see the snake that came to visit today.
At least this one is outside!
The view we see from inside the house.
Below: The view outside.
He is right outside of my living room window.
He is easily five feet long.
I am pretty certain this is a black rat snake. His underside is yellowish/whitish. My favorite Missouri snake site, the Missouri Department of Conservation's snake page, says that Black Rat snakes are known for their tree climbing ability.

Below: His head
I am glad that with all our cool nights that our snake population is moving closer to the house. (Yes, I meant to say that) The mice have been moving back into the attic this past week, and I count on these big snakes to rid us of some of the meddling rodent population! As I have said before, I would rather have snakes around than mice (though I do not want either inside the house!)

Fun Picture

My parents came for a visit last week.
The highlight of the visit?

My Dad's first time operating a riding lawn mower!

Friday, September 18, 2009

I Paid for a Haircut

Believe it or not... I actually paid to have my hair cut today. Better?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Home School Legal Defense Opposes Health Bill 3200

Home School Legal Defense (HSLDA) is opposed to the US House of Representatives Health Care Bill 3200.

Read their "talking points" here. Among other things, this bill allows for government workers to come into our homes and supervise our child rearing. YIKES! Go, call your representative or send him/her and email!

New Printer

Praise Report!

We got a new printer yesterday with Paul's birthday money (he turned 34 on Monday).
We bought a Lexmark 4650 all-in-one, because it had wonderful reviews at Amazon! And, we bought it at KMart, so Paul got a 10% employee discount (Sears owns KMart).

...Now, it is up to me to get the thing hooked up and hardware loaded. I usually let Paul do those kinds of things, but if I wait for him... well, I'm not sure when he would have time to get to it. He trusts me not to damage it too much while installing it ; ) Hopefully it will turn out better than last week's haircut (which I still have not gotten fixed)!

UPDATE LATER the same morning: I installed the printer. It had VERY easy directions to follow! I have already used the printer to get ready for school this afternoon! It prints SO fast compared to my old printer - WOW! Praise God for this blessing to my family and school!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Letters to my kids

I had a great idea for how to give my kids a practical reading lesson! I mailed them each a letter!
here is what I wrote to Rebecca, and she was able to read it! (I wrote the return address as Mommy W____)

To Rebecca,

I love you. You are a good girl. You are a good worker! You are a big helper!
You are kind. You love Mom and Dad. You love Lydia, Joshua, and Nelson. You are a good sister.
I love you!

With Love,
From Mommy
I hope that no matter what age your kids are (even if they are quite grown with their own kids!) that you might consider writing them a letter this week to let them know how special they are!

Friday, September 11, 2009

More Practical Homeschool Tips

I can't remember if I have shared these ideas before...

- for seemingly endless letter tracing and pre-writing, make one copy of each letter/number and place inside a three ring binder inside of plastic covering. My kids love using dry erase markers in these binders! Easy clean up, and less paper wasted!

- we buy binders in bulk at Sam's. And, when I print a book off the internet I place it is plastic sheets and put it in a binder. We will have all the books printed then, for the younger ones coming along later

Practical Homeschool Ideas

I am only a beginner when it comes to homeschooling. My oldest is in 2nd grade. But, this gives me the advantage of knowing what kinds of ideas may be helpful for other new homeschoolers. If you have been schooling for several years, I probably do not have anything to offer you... in fact, you can share some of your know-how with me! But, if you are a new homeschool parent, or hope to some day be a homeschool parent, I hope to help you out with these few practical ideas.

- Play board games with your little ones as soon as they are able to hold the little pieces without being tempted to chew on them. Candy Land, teaches simple life lessons like taking turns, and being a good winner or a good loser. Memory is another excellent game for kiddos!

-Play UNO with preschool aged kids. You can begin by matching colors or numbers only to make this game simpler. I was surprised at how well my kids learned their numbers and colors this way!

- Play dominos with little ones (who will not chew on/choke on the pieces). Matching numbers is good for little ones. And, as they grow older you can vary the rules to include addition and subtraction games.

- Cook with your little ones. Not only with this teach you great patience, but it will be basic math!

- In terms of actual school lessons (you know, the kind you do sitting at a table), do not feel like you have to do every subject every day! It is very important to be consistent with math and phonics/reading. BUT, most other subjects can be done every other day to lesson your load (Especially if you are like me with soon to be 5 little ones age 7 and under).

- Read, read, read! We were reading to my oldest when she was less than one. She developed an amazing vocabulary very early! As the kids age, I move away from Dr Seuss and such, to more advanced books. I prefer non-fiction books about reptiles, bugs, animals, oceans, body parts, etc. Just this week, we read a book about how the body heals from a skinned knee. The older kids really enjoy these kinds of books! I think that our reading with them from an early age, more than any other thing, is the reason for their desire to learn more. My kids want to learn new things. They want to read books (or have them read to them) to learn about new ideas or objects. Even when a homeschool mom is sick/disabled she can read to her kids! And, this is not to be under-rated!

- When they ask any question about something like "what is a star?", or show interest in a particular topic, I go to the library right away! We strike while the iron is hot!

- We set Friday apart as our arts and crafts day, because -frankly, I cannot deal with that kind of mess daily. So, we do Play Doh on Friday. One of my friends paints with her kids every Friday. Bigger kids can play with glue, glitter, and scissors. It is fun to have one special day to look forward to! Vinyl table cloths are great for paint days. And, you can likely find cheap mens' button-up shirts (at a thrift store) to put on kids backwards while they make messes.


I write these simple ideas to show that homeschooling can start early and easily. It does not have to start with a curriculum and a planner! You can start small and add things as you go along! It has taken me far to long to realize this!

What ideas can you share with me? I encourage you to write me a comment, or write your own post and add the link to my comments. I really mean for this post to be a great resource to new homeschool moms, or someday-hope-to-be homeschool moms! I look forward to hearing for you!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Lessons in Lizards

One of the best purchases we have ever made for our homeschool was the book The Encyclopedia of North American Animals, by Bryan Richard. We get this book out weekly to identify some varmint we find near the house. The kids are happy to sit and look at the book for many minutes at a time! (If I read it to them, they will listen for up to an hour!)

I grew up in central Illinois, and never saw any lizards. When we moved to Missouri last summer, I was surprised to see a variety of lizards. The hard thing is differentiating these colorful little critters. We have a Red Bud tree behind our house that has several big holes in it that these lizards live in.

This morning I got this picture of what I think is a Six-Lined Racerunner. He is about 6 inches long (including the tail).

I am pretty sure that in this same Red Bud tree there is a family of Broad Headed Skinks. These two species look nothing alike, as the skink is larger and fatter, with no stripes. But, Mr Skink is too shy to have his picture taken! The supposed skink is fat and about 9 inches long (including tail). As I looked in my book this morning, I see there is a striped skink called a Southeastern Five-Lined Skink, which looks similar to my picture above. But, the map in my handy book says that the Southeastern Skink should not be in mid- MO. (But, I know that these maps are often imperfect)

These are the fun homeschooling lessons we have in our home on a regular basis! I love being a homeschool mom! You can go out and chase lizards and call it a school project!

Other info about our lizard(s):
-The babies are shiny blue, cute little fast things! The kittens climb the red Bud tree and bring back specimen for us to examine closely. Both the skink and the racerunner have blue juveniles.

-All the lizards spend most of the days on the tree trunk catching insects. HOWEVER, the birds that nest in that tree sadly find their eggs missing, and/or their nestlings eaten (we think the big skink is responsible for lessening our bird population)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

School Update

This school update is to mark our own progress and encourage my readers who want to learn what homeschooling looks like.

Aside from my illness last week, we have been in school regularly for about three weeks. We are settling into a nice routine. At first, I tried to do school in the morning, with Joshua at the table. But, I was not/am not capable of dividing my attention between all four children. And, the big kids were VERY distracted by the little ones. So, I experimented with doing school during Joshua's nap time (which is from about 12:30- 4:30) and that works VERY well! I keep Lydia at the table with the big kids for about an hour. In that time she does pre-writing worksheets and puzzles. She also likes pattern blocks and the geoboard. She sits quietly while the kids work on other subjects. I put her down to nap between 1:30 and 2:00.

Nelson and Rebecca are both in Saxon 1 Math. Rebecca seems bored, because she has done part of this program before. This time through she can read the worksheet directions for herself (a BIG breakthrough) and she would say she "loves" math. Nelson understands all the concepts within Saxon 1 so far. He is not writing all of his letters and numbers yet, but I will not push him in this. He practices handwriting daily, but his fine motor skills are simply not ready to write yet. I am perfectly ok with that! I know that he understands the concepts, and to me, that is the important thing. The writing will come in time!
I find a lot of extra math worksheets from Donna Young. With these worksheets I reinforce money concepts, clock reading, and more. Rebecca also learns a lot from playing cash register. I place price tags on school items and she buys them with play money.

Rebecca and Nelson are both in the Veritas Press Phonics Museum First Grade Book. I have said before that I do not like using VP's Phonic's Museum exclusively. I want to explain that more. At the kindergarten level, Rebecca loved the worksheets (as did I). And, she was very eager to begin reading primers! BUT, to read the primers you have to start memorizing some site words, the curriculum calls these "special exhibit words" (they are straight from the dolce words list of most commonly used/read words). Anyway, I love phonics, Becca was doing great with phonics, but this attempt to memorize whole words REALLY threw her off! She was never sure when to sound out a word, and when to try to guess at what it was.
I do, however, like the worksheets. But, I do not recommend buying the whole $190 kit for the worksheets! Wal-Mart sells books to reinforce phonics and writing, and they cost a whole lot less!
Anyway, I have the program, and I am trying to get my money's worth. So, we do the fun worksheets. Nelson likes these worksheets too. And, I find that the lesson progression goes along great with Ramalda Spaulding's Writing Road to Reading. I teach the kids phonics her way, and I use the VP Phonics worksheets as a supplement. I find that using both of these curriculums together has been great for us! Nelson and Rebecca are both doing very well with the first grade level lessons. As I dictate words, Rebecca writes them out and Nelson "puzzles" them out, using the VP Phonics puzzle pieces.

Rebecca is speeding along nicely in her cursive writing. She is learning a few letters a week, and practicing them till her hand hurts. I also write on the board to have her "decode" cursive. She seems to read it just as well as she writes it.

Lydia is doing so VERY well with pre-writing, that I think she is ready to begin kindergarten phonics and handwriting. (I get Lydia's pre-writing help and Rebecca's cursive worksheets from Donna Young) Her hand control is very steady and smooth. I think I will get the VP Phonics Museum K level workbook for her to practice writing letters and do some fun worksheets. I will NOT have Lydia memorize words to attempt to read one of the VP primers. When she knows enough phonic groupings to sound out the memorized words, THEN we will look at the books.... but at that point, she will be ready for real books.

Rebecca has been reading the Bible to us. At each family worship session, she reads one verse. She can sound out even long, hard words (last night, she sounded out "rejected" and "Bethlemhemite"!) Often in school, I will write phrases from the Psalter on the board and have her read those. While she can sound out the words and read these items, she cannot always understand what she has read. I think that is normal, and I am not at all concerned. This will all come together in time!

We are doing a few different geographical and historical studies (these often overlap). I am reading to them a True Relation by John Smith. Another book we are reading is called The Men Who Found America. And, I found a gem of a book called Home Geography, and we love the lessons in that book. I found all of these free book on the Old Fashioned Education website, which I love.

My only struggle with homeschooling, at this point, is that my printer/copier broke two weeks ago! We cannot afford to fix it, and I cannot afford to buy a new one. I am trying to make needed copies at the library, but I cannot print my free books off there, it would cost a fortune! So, we are at a standstill with John Smith, until I can get more printed (just when he was surrounded/ ambushed by 200 Indians, and all his men were dead!) Also, I rely on the printer to print off my weekly schedule (Donna Young has a lot of planner patterns to choose from!) I have GOT to get a new printer/copier soon! I am writing things sloppily in a notebook for now, but I much prefer to have a pretty planner, should I ever need it for proof of schooling.

I started reading the kids the Laura Ingalls' books this week. I read these to them in the morning, while Joshua and Lydia play quietly on the floor. So, I guess we do "do" school in the morning, just not at the table. Also, I have morning devotions with them daily. We are reading through the Gospel of John right now. And, I am having them memorize Psalm 3 from the Psalter. We are always memorizing Scripture verses and other songs as well.

I truly am not trying to paint a perfect portrait of our school session. Most of my readers know that I write things "as is," perhaps to a fault! School is going very well for now, and I hope that we are able to stay on track for some time!

(I am posting this at scheduled school time, but I already had it in draft form. Also, Paul is home today, and that throws a wrench in the schedule. AND, I need to copy my worksheets! Hopefully I can get to the library this afternoon!)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Our Guest, Mr. Turtle

Look who came for a visit this afternoon! It is on my back porch... perhaps eyeing the kittens.
I am pretty sure that he is some form of snapper. I took the picture of his tail, to help me distinguish if he is a common snapper or alligator snapper. (I don't care to have either on my porch... maybe the dog will shew it away)

It's rear end has triangle cut-aways. It has a very long tail! The tail seems to be somewhat ridged. I think it is a common snapper, because it has a somewhat "saw toothed" tail, and because it does not have dinosaur-like bumps on his back. But, its mouth is kind of hooked... What do you think? I didn't want to get close enough to measure it, but it is easily 12 inches long, without adding that massive tail.

More Vaccination Articles

As I research for my own pleasure/need to know, I will pass on the best articles I find to my readers. And, again, vaccines are not a salvation issue, you can be a Christian and vaccinate your kids. We all need to remember that our kids are given to us by God - they are, in essence, His. We need to do what we can to keep them healthy and safe. This involves (among other things) the foods we feed them and the drugs we give them. We need to research the safety of all products to make sure that we are being good stewards of the children that God has given us. And, if you research and come to different understandings, I respect your decision. But, if you simply refuse to consider the possibility that vaccines may not be safe, without researching it for yourself (and looking to any source other than the CDC and the companies who profit from these drugs) then I cannot respect that. And, just so you know, I have read many articles on the CDC page, and I do read the pamphlets at the health department. I want to be informed on both sides of the issue.

That said, I found a few more articles regarding mercury in vaccines that are intriguing. I think these articles are interesting, because they are reviews written by a third party. They are well documented and very educational. I hope you will make time to read them, or bookmark them for later.

The first article is a review of a statement/article by Autism Speaks. The original article by Autism Speaks states that there may be a group of people more susceptible to autism than others, and that research needs to be done to determine this susceptible group. The reviewer from FAME takes this one step farther and says that autism is mercury poisoning, and everyone is susceptible.

Then, there is another review by FAME, which addresses a CDC publication, pointing out flaws and misrepresentations that were made. It is a longer article, but a good read. And, if I understood correctly, one passage implies that (hear the sarcasm here) the mercury levels in vaccines given to infants may be safe as long as they are administered to a 276 pound individual. (Sarcasm ends)

I was thinking yesterday about how peanut allergies (tree nut allergies) have increased so much since I was a child. As a kid, I did not know anyone with a nut allergy, but now it seems that all my friends have kids with nut allergies. I was thinking... could there be a link between nut allergies and vaccines? Here is one article I found which says that there IS a link between vaxing and nut allergies. I have strong emotions about this new idea to create a peanut allergy vaccine! In my understanding this may be a bit counter-productive. (Because in general, vaccine hurt our immunity, not help it. And, that is, in my humble opinion why there are so many autoimmune diseases).

Remember how I mentioned in Vaccination Part 2 that I had my first asthma attack after receiving a MMR and Tetanus shot for seminary? Well, I found a whole list of links today that correlates asthma with vaccines. In fact, they make this statement:
Vaccination (not forgetting other drugs such as antibiotics 1,2 and Paracetamol 1) is the main cause of asthma.
I also mentioned in Vaccination Part 2 that both my boys developed severe eczema after vaccines. Nelson's condition worsened with each routine booster. Joshua's eczema has improved a lot since we have not gotten any of his boosters since he was two months old. Is there a link between vaccines and eczema? YES - even the CDC advises that children with preexisting eczema or in families with eczema to avoid the smallpox vaccine (they do not admit to any other vaccine causing eczema).

Here is another CDC link regarding a condition known as "eczema vaccinatum," caused by the smallpox vaccine. My Joshua looked something like the top picture in the previous link, when I took him to the doctor to be diagnosed with eczema the week following his shots. I had never seen eczema in such a severe state, and I could not even recognize it myself (even though, as I mentioned, Nelson and I both have the condition ourselves). Yet, I cannot find an article on the CDC site that links eczema with vaccinations other than smallpox. (But, common sense tells me otherwise)

I did find this CDC list of what conditions should keep a person from vaccinating, and what vaccine(s) they should not receive. If you vax yourself and/or your kids, make sure you know this list well! (Includes pregnancy, allergy to aspirin, and much more).

May the Lord give us all wisdom as we seek to raise our children!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Making a Lunch for Hubby

I know that for most of my readers this post will be rather remedial, but when I was a new wife I knew none of the practical aspects of loving my husband.

Tips for preparing a lunch for your Husband:

The night before:
- Set his little igloo on the counter
- If he eats potato chips, bag them up in a little ziplock
- Cut up your produce and put it in a plastic container or ziplock bag. (Paul eats apples, green peppers, carrots, and celery regularly) Set these in the fridge in a visible place.
- Put any dipping sauce (for the veggies) in a tiny plastic container. Put these in the fridge beside the veggies/fruit.
- Cut up lettuce for a salad, and place it in a serving sized container
- Put some salad dressing in a tiny container and set it next to the lettuce in the fridge
- If he is a hard-working-blue-collar-man, make his Gatorade and set it in the fridge.
- Make sure there is bottled water in the fridge (or Coke, if that is his thing)
- If you made chicken salad (or some meat salad), set a small portion aside in a plastic container to be set in his little igloo tomorrow morning
- If you are making chicken salad put his bread in plastic containers or ziplocks (because if you make the sandwich early, even in the morning, it will make the bread soggy)
- If he is eating leftovers, set a portion aside after dinner, or now
- Set out a plate to reheat food, or a bowl for soup
- Don't forget the fork/spoon if necessary
- He may want a napkin/serviette, does he need wet wipes too?
- Set some gum out, especially if you gave him an onion product
- ask in advance what kind of sandwich he wants, and what kind of condiments he wants on it
- on taco leftover days, I pack a small container of hot sauce


The morning of:
- Set all of the pre-made, pre-cut foods, and the drinks on the counter
- If he is eating a sandwich (PBJ, lunchmeat, etc) make it in the morning, so the bread does not get soggy
- Double check to make sure you got everything
- optional: Write a happy note saying you appreciate his hard work
- The hardest part of all: force it all into the little igloo without squishing the chips and bruising the apples

It seems easy to me now, but for years I neglected this practical showing of love for my husband. Once I got into the routine, it was not so hard! You can do it too! Your husband will feel loved, and you will not have to spend so much money on fast food/take out.

What tips can you add? I want to learn from all you home-making experts! I know I still have a lot of growing to do!

Swine Flu Vaccine Problems

I have had another vaccination post in my saved box for days, waiting to be proof read... but then, Paul called me this morning to tell me about new reports about the Swine Flu Vaccine and problems with the central nervous system.

Be sure to read this article! Here are the key points, they had them in bold print (this size!, I cut and pasted it). This is speaking of the US swine flu epidemic, and its relation to Guillain-Barre Syndrome (an autoimmune disorder), in 1976:
  • More people died from the vaccination than from swine flu.
  • 500 cases of GBS were detected.
  • The vaccine may have increased the risk of contracting GBS by eight times.
  • The vaccine was withdrawn after just ten weeks when the link with GBS became clear.
  • The US Government was forced to pay out millions of dollars to those affected.
Vaccination is always a sensitive topic. So, to help combat lunatics who say the vaccines cause autism or that the program is a front for Obama's secret socialist re-education camps (I've already said too much...), the Center for Disease Control has set aside $4.8 million for a multimedia campaign to educate the public about vaccination. The campaign will use Twitter and podcasts, in addition to print, radio and television ads, to remind the public to get both the H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccines.
Who says I don't give you both sides of the issue? Hee, hee, hee

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Nelson's pretend buggy ride

I thought you would all enjoy this video of Nelson.

video

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Forced Vaccinations?

I want this blog to be all about the love of Jesus Christ, and I try not to veer much into areas that might distract people from the Gospel. But, I have interests that I like to write about on occasion, subjects that are very important to me... and sometimes these subjects overlap with politics. (One such topic I wrote about just a few weeks ago was regarding this article. See my post on July 22, 2009) I do not want this to become a politically charged blog, but as always, I hope my readers will think things through for themselves.

Disclaimer: I do not believe that vaccines are a salvation issue!

I have been getting a lot of emails lately in regards to vaccinations and other personal liberty issues that are being further blurred every day by our courts. (I have written about vaccinations before, start here for Part 1.) I can hardly write about this topic without tears in my eyes, because my own ignorance has caused so much damage (see Part 2 of my vaccine series). My Lydia was on the "autism spectrum," likely to be diagnosed with autism. She went from being a vivacious toddler to being a weak, frail, puddle on the carpet - sleeping 18+ hours a day, no talking, no running, no singing, no playing. Over time, and as I believe, as the first rounds of vaccinations have worn off she has put some weight back on, and she now talks and plays. But, I expect and believe that if she had been given her boosters (as we were encouraged to do in the Spring of 2008) she would have been quickly diagnosed with Autism. Still, who knows what permanent effects are in her body, because I never cared to do research on the issue - even when warned by friends.

Now, the issue becomes of importance to me again, because I may/will likely have another hospital birth this coming December. I want to homebirth, because it is the only way to know FOR SURE that baby will not be vaxed for Hep B within 18 hours of exiting the womb. In theory, I can write in my birth plan that I will not be getting Baby vaxed. In theory, I still have a choice in the state of MO. But, videos like this one get me awfully concerned.

And, you may remember the court ordered vaccines in Maryland, for public school students.

But, what about H1N1, Swine Flu? Did you know that the military is prepared to take care of a potential "pandemic" of swine flu this winter. When this Fox News video was taken, there were already 20 million doses of swine flu vaccine already prepared... though the safety of these has not been time tested. And, even though the test has not yet passed its safety trials, pregnant women are to be among the first to receive it! Swine Flu vaccines should be ready in October... will they be mandatory? Will we all be forced to receive this vaccine?

In response to the swine flue "epidemic", Massachusetts has unanimously passed a bill to force vaccines on that state's citizens. There is a huge penalty if people refuse to participate. AND, there is "immunity" for health care workers as they deal with those who attempt to refuse the vaccine. Watch this video to confirm all those statements I just made about the state of MA.

Another educational video is this one on MSNBC interviewing Robert F Kennedy Jr. who wrote an article called "Deadly Immunity." He talks about how the Autism rates went up in 1989, when the CDC changed the guidelines to include far more vaccines in the early years. You can read Kennedy's article "Deadly Immunity" by finding it on this web page (scroll down till you see the title in the sidebar).

One last video is called How Mercury Kills the Brain... a must see!

This is not just an issue for a few people with "conspiracy theories," though those do exist. Nor is it a party-lines issue. It is a child safety issue. I highly urge all parents and may-some-day-be parents to research this issue. And, as you are reading contrary reports, consider the motives. Who is out to make money? (Vaccine-making companies, CDC employees, doctors, and more) Who may just be trying to make a name for themselves? (End times preachers? Doctors, and more) Pray for wisdom and search this issue out on your own.

Vaccinations- Part One
Vaccinations - Part Two
Vaccinations - Part Three

Thursday, August 27, 2009

What a Day!

I had quite an eventful day yesterday. I don't believe in "coincidence," I believe that God orders all things. So, when my MIL called first thing in the morning to see if I would take an Amish lady to Versailles, I agreed with all eagerness. Paul and I still daydream of living off the land (someday), and we want to learn all we can from those who are already self-sufficient.

I went to a produce auction and the Dutch Foods store, before coming back home. I will not bore you with all those details. On the way home from the auction the husband and wife were both riding with me, and a daughter as well. We did quite a bit of talking, and I learned a lot.

But, this is the exciting part, they are willing to have me over to their home and teach me things, and share recipes with me! All the folks I met y-day were so kind and open with me. I met about 5 families, and they all seemed eager to take me under wing. They know that I have no desire to be Amish. They know that we just want to live a simple life. But, still, they are willing to teach me anything I ask! In fact, the husband (who is old enough to be my father, yet has children as young as mine!) happily agreed to teach me to render lard! He told me the basics, but I need to see it to thoroughly understand.

And, the husband said that their Amish midwife would assist my birth, so long as I do some name-dropping. When I told Paul about the midwife he was as eager as I am! I don't know if we will follow through with this offer, because I do not know how much this service costs. But, it is so kind of them to offer the help of the community to me!

I do not know what will come of these new connections. only time will tell. But, I thank God for the opportunity to meet people who know so much about living off the land.

Monday, August 24, 2009

I am Hid in Christ

This morning I parted from my normal reading schedule to be cheered by Colossians. (Not that Revelation is not "cheery", it just was not the part of the Gospel that I most needed to hear right now.) I am greatly encouraged by reading the entirety of Colossians. I will admit, I read chapter three three times. I read it once in NASB, then twice in the KJV. Such rich blessings and exhortations poured forth in that text!

I am amazed by Paul's clear cut thinking, there is no blurring of sin, and labelling it as something more socially acceptable. Look at these verses:

If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. Col 3:1-11 (KJV - bold emphasis mine)

Paul offers no excuses, he merely says "mortify" and "put off" the old ways you in which you previously acted. I don't know about you, friend, but I still struggle with these sins daily! Sometimes I even let Satan deceive me into thinking that I am not a true Christian, because I still struggle with these sins. But, in this text, Paul is speaking to believers! He is reminding them of the promise of being hidden in Christ! That is a promise that I need to burn on my mind and heart daily! (Read Romans 7 for another illustration of how Christians struggle daily to conquer the "old man.")

It is not enough just to rid myself of these habitual sins. I need to replace them with something positive, read these verses:

Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. Col 3:12-17 (KJV - bold emphasis mine)
Paul tells us to "put on" these Christlike qualities. This is no easy task. In fact, one cannot do it alone! It takes the work of the Holy Spirit within you to achieve this end! I might be able to fake my salvation by doing certain external things: wearing skirts, homeschooling my kids, publicly submitting to my husband (to name a few), but these things alone do not prove one's salvation. Only God can do a work within your life that shows itself in meekness, forbearance, and love! I cannot fake those divine attributes!

Another thought from the above verses... did you notice how Paul tells his readers twice to "let" something take place in their lives? This gives me the impression that we can thwart the purposes of God in our life (to some extent. God is still Sovereign, and His Perfect Plan allows us to make some choices). Paul says "let the peace of God rule in your hearts." This certainly sounds like there are things that we can do which would NOT let the peace of God rule, but would hinder it. Paul then says, "Let the Word of Christ dwell richly in you," as though we can do something to prevent this from happening. Are you letting God's peace dwell in you? Are you letting the Word of Christ dwell (richly!) in you?

So, my challenge to myself and to my readers is this... Are you dead, with your life hid in Christ? And, if so, are you praying that God would mortify the "old man" within you?

What have you put on today?